Business group supports wind siting reform

Posted on January 20, 2009. Filed under: Wind |

From a newsletter article by R. J. Pirlot, Director, Legislative Relations, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC):

By 2015, state law requires ten percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable resources. WMC is already doing its part to meet that goal. Through Madison Gas and Electric, WMC voluntarily buys half of its electricity from wind generation power plants.

Unfortunately, some local communities are starting to virtually ban development of small wind farms, stymieing Wisconsin from meeting its renewable energy goals. WMC is already working with the Wisconsin Legislature on setting fair and uniform standards to encourage wind farm development, helping Wisconsin meet its renewable energy law.

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has authority over all power plant proposals in excess of 100 megawatts, including wind energy power plants. Local units of government have permitting authority over all power plants under 100 megawatts, including wind energy power plants. Some local units of government have imposed expensive, time-consuming and scientifically-unjustified restrictions on the development of wind energy power plants.

For example, a new Trempealeau County ordinance forbids building a wind turbine within one mile of a habitable building, effectively banning building small wind farms in the county. Other communities have taken similar action and, as a result, investment in and installation of approximately 400 megawatts of wind energy power plants are stalled in Wisconsin.

Rather than allowing a patchwork of varying local regulations, the Wisconsin Legislature should take swift action to have fair and uniform standards for wind turbines set throughout Wisconsin. Wind speeds in Wisconsin are high enough to support development of additional wind turbine farms and wind is a cost effective way to meet the state’s ten percent renewable energy law. While solar, biomass, biogas and hydroelectricity, too, will help meet this ten percent renewable energy requirement, wind power is projected to account for 95 percent of Wisconsin’s renewable energy production.


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2 Responses to “Business group supports wind siting reform”

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More Outrageous Claims!

In Trempealeau County a wind turbine can be placed 500’ from a residence. Please read the entire ordinance.

The statement that 400 MW of wind power is stalled is ridiculous. This statement indicates that if wind developers cannot install wind turbines at every location they pick they are being stalled or unfairly restricted. How many times have you gotten everything you wanted? The word compromise is not in the wind developer’s vocabulary or hand book. Wind turbines are being constructed in Wisconsin at a very fast pace. Wind developers have nothing to complain about.

This so called patchwork of local regulations is actually very consistent. The consensus of opinion by responsible local government officials is a setback from a home of one half mile and a sound level of 5 dB over background noise. These requirements are fair and serve to protect public health and safety. The Wisconsin Legislature should follow the setback and sound guidelines that are being adopted by local governments.

The Wisconsin Manufactures and Commerce (Todd Stuart Executive Director), along with other large industrial groups has filed an important document with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin(PSC). Please take the time to read this Strategic Energy Assessment.

PSC Docket No. 5-ES-104.

PSC Reference # 105492

Jim Haney is the president of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. Todd Stuart is the executive director of the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce supports wind permiting reform, as the their newsletter article says.

Here’s what the Winona Daily News had to say about the Trempealeau County ordinance:

“You see, Trempealeau County does not like wind. Or at least wind that’s harnessed by wind turbines.

The county can rightly point out it has a policy on the books that allows for wind turbines. Technically. But realistically, the county has made it impossible to build wind turbines that would be commercially feasible. Trempealeau County has made its ordinance too restrictive to be useful.Call it out-lawing. Or maybe it is over-lawing.” —

And here’s what the Eau Claire Leader Telegram reported:

“After more than a year of research and discussion by committee, the Trempealeau County Board recently approved a wind ordinance that essentially would prevent commercial wind turbines from being built in the county.

The ordinance requires developers to place wind turbines taller than 150 feet one mile or more from neighboring residences, schools, hospitals and businesses. It’s described as the longest setback distance imposed to date by a local government in the state, which board member Doug Winters says is unfortunate.

Winters, who is from Trempealeau, voted against the proposed ordinance Dec. 17 after he and a handful of others attempted to amend the ordinance. That amendment was rejected.

The ordinance passed on a 10-6 vote.–

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